“The other part of outsourcing is this: it simply says where the work can be done outside better than it can be done inside, we should do it.”
~ Alphonso Jackson, United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (2004–2008).
Have you ever felt like sometimes you spend more time at home working on your home (cleaning, cooking, repairing, over and over and over) rather than comfortably living in it with those we love? By spending time and energy working on our homes we lose precious time focusing on the relationships in it.
If you calculated how much time you or your partner spent cleaning, or how much stress it cost to let the mess build up, you would probably hire a housekeeper the very next day.
That’s why outsourcing makes so much sense—we get to do what we do best (and love to do the most), and give the rest to someone who loves to do it, is an expert in it.
And that’s also why businesses of all sizes are recognizing the need to spend more time perfecting their area of specialization and building better relationships with their various stakeholders—and less time on administrative and business processes that are more generic.
Rationale for Outsourcing
Outsourcing can maximize the efficiency of all of your resources—people, time, money and energy—because you and your staff can focus on the primary purpose of your business and use your unique skill sets. In the meantime, other companies with different primary purposes and skill sets (e.g., accounting, human resources or information technology) can do what THEY do best. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
As well, the resulting ability to be laser-focused on your specialization enhances and increases your credibility, and you become more attractive to people who are looking for the precise solution you and your company offer.
An Outsourcing Attitude
Outsourcing requires an attitude shift and a willingness to surrender some control. It can feel uncomfortable at first, and that’s what leaves some people stuck at the same level year after year.
Examine your hesitation; what are your concerns about outsourcing? Here are some common objections:
- Offshore concerns. A lot of outsourcing is done at the local or national level, but more and more is accomplished on foreign lands. Perhaps you’re concerned about language barriers, health and safety standards, work quality or the impact on the U.S. economy.
- Reputation. Business owners may worry what their customers, clients, staff and other stakeholders will think about their decision to outsource. You may also be concerned that the outside specialist will make some error that will harm your reputation.
- Security. Companies may not be sure how to protect their intellectual property and other key data from fraud, tampering and other damage.
With each of these concerns and any others you may have, spend a moment to answer the question, “What’s the worst thing that could happen if we outsourced?” and then ask, “If that happened, then what?”
It can help to express catastrophic worries to see if they’re valid. Many businesses have outsourced successfully and made mistakes you can learn from. Do your research and put your concerns to rest.
How to Start Outsourcing
- Look at where you are being diverted from the main focus of your business. What’s draining you or your staff? Is it administrative tasks, technical support, accounting, human resources, IT or something else?
- Start small and grow from there. Test the outsourcing process before launching ahead. Keep in mind that someone still needs to manage the process for the outside specialists. The process may take some time and experimentation to perfect. Initially, it may seem that it’s taking more time than you’re saving. Learn from these early efforts and use them to craft process maps to follow as you grow your outsourcing strategy.
- Understand what your needs are and communicate them clearly to the outside specialist. Double-check that you understand each other, don’t make any assumptions, and put everything in writing.
Are you ready to do what you do best and outsource the rest? If it’s still a bit scary to you, think of some of the smaller, time-consuming things someone else can do. Check out sites like Fiverr.com, FiverUp.com, GigBucks.com, Zeerk.com, SEOClerks.com, TenBux.com, Dollar3.com, and RoundShelf.com (note, I’m not advertising for them, nor vouching for their services, simply giving you an idea of what’s available out there that could help you outsource those things that take your time and you don’t enjoy doing!).
The move to outsourcing takes an attitude shift, some preparation and a learning curve, but at the end of it all you will emerge with a stronger focus on the primary purpose of your business. And it might just be the answer to growing your business to the next level.
What are you outsourcing successfully now? Share with us!
For information on leadership, EQ Negotiations, stopping your Inner Critics and strengthening your Inner Genius, or any of our programs, call us at 682.200.1412 or Info@ApexLeadershipCoaching.com.